Thursday, 3 December 2009
Unexpected Creative Cooking
This week I’m following a ‘Yogic diet’, also known as an Ayurvedic diet. My yoga teacher asked for a couple of volunteers to trial the diet for a week to help her with something she’s writing. Always one for a challenge, I was keen to participate. (It’s not a diet to lose weight, more a kind of eating regime).
I’ll provide you with a couple of links at the end of this post for those of you interested in finding out more but here’s the basic idea…. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India, originating over 5,000 years ago. Its focus is on re-establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing, and on the health of the mind, body, and spirit.
Firstly I had to identify my Ayurvedic type, of which there are three: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. There's then a corresponding list of foods for each type and the object is to eat the foods that are 'balancing' and steer clear of those that are 'aggravating'. As expected, caffeine and alcohol are to be avoided and the more fresh fruit and vegetables eaten, the better. Your stomach should ideally be 50% food, 25% water and 25% empty.
For my yoga teacher I am keeping a food diary that has to be submitted once the week is up. It's the first time I've kept a food diary. It certainly makes you more conscious of what you eat when you know somebody else will know about it! I don't think it would be so effective if my yoga teacher wasn't going to be reading it.
Being a vegetarian, I thought I would find this 'diet' a breeze. Instead, it has been quite challenging but in a positive way. It's given me an insight into my eating patterns and tendencies and I have had to be more creative with certain foods. As a couple of examples, in an effort to eat seeds I have had pumpkin seeds sprinkled on my porridge and sunflower seeds in a salad. That's another thing - salads. Generally I rarely eat salads in the winter, instead prefering something warming in the cold weather, like soup or jacket potatoes. I've really been enjoying the salads this week and have made a tasty variety to keep them interesting.
We get a box of organic vegetables delivered to us each week so eat fresh, seasonal vegetables on a very regular basis. This week though, I had to go and buy a load more to last me the week. It made me wonder if we really do eat a lot of vegetables or do I make myself less-nutritious lunches in an average week?
I'm enjoying the questions arrising from following this 'diet' and the need to think a bit broader when deciding what to eat for a meal. If nothing else, I will have gained a good look at my own eating habits and will have learned to be a bit more creative with the food I eat.
Have you ever kept a food diary or followed a diet that's forced you to be more creative with food?
Find out your Ayurvedic type here and list of foods to eat here.